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Karnataka Board Repeaters Demand Promotion, Experts Suggest Time to Change Policies

Students who failed to clear SSLC in 2020 were to reappear in 2021. (Representational Image)

Students who failed to clear SSLC in 2020 were to reappear in 2021. (Representational Image)

Around 30,000 repeaters in Karnataka SSLC, many of whom would have missed by a fraction of mark, have to write the exam nonetheless.

The batch of 2021 will be promoted to the next class without holding the board exams, however, those who failed last year and were to re-appear for the board exams this year are stuck in limbo. Karnataka state government has said that repeaters will have to take exams and dates will be announced. Now, repeaters have approached the High Court of Karnataka against education minister Suresh Kumar for not promoting them like first-timers.

The issue is very confusing, says Veena Mohan, educationalist. “The schools have completed revisions for regular students. Though there are online classes for repeaters, there is no clarity on how and when the exams will be conducted. The current pattern of examination where six subjects are squeezed into two papers is in itself a very unscientific way. Since that is expected to happen in July-August, repeaters turn maybe in September or even later. Any which way, they have lost an entire year. Colleges have already begun admissions and these children are completely lost now,” says Mohan.

There are several instances where students have not attended online classes at all. This means they do not even know what the syllabus for the year was. If for regular classes, many would have attendance shortages. How can we let such students move to the next class when they are not ready yet?, Question teachers.

As per the data with the SSLC board, there are around 30,000 repeaters in Karnataka this year. Many would have missed by a fraction of marks, but they have to write the exam nonetheless. Format of exams to repeaters is yet to be decided which has only added to the present puzzle, says D Shashi Kumar, secretary, Private School Association of Karnataka.

The solution according to experts is in changing academic patterns. “There is no rule that an academic year should begin in June and end in March. Government has the power to change this British era pattern. The academic year can begin in January and end in December. So if there is another wave like everyone says at least there will be some classes in between and the loss can be minimum”, says Veena Mohan.

She recalls a situation in 1990 where several colleges had clearly mentioned that students from ‘Bangalore University need not apply’ as there was some major exam scam that year in university. Students passing out in 2021 may also face a similar situation which is going to create a big impact on their higher studies, career, and life per se.

The unscientific distribution of marks is sure to impact the hardworking students. All those who were planning to get into prestigious institutions for higher studies will certainly have several roadblocks to conquer, experts opine.

The situation isn’t different in Telangana state as well. In view of Covid-19 cases rising day after day, the Telangana government has decided to cancel the annual examinations of 10th and intermediate to promote the students to higher classes. All the students will be promoted to their next class for the academic year 2021 -22. The state government had earlier canceled class 10 exams and it is decided that grades will be given to students on a methodology being devised by the Board of Secondary Education. Similarly, intermediate 1st-year and 2nd-year exams were also canceled and the students are promoted next levels.

Meanwhile, the state govt is setting the guidelines for students who are approaching IIT, EEE admissions. Soon there will be a set of guidelines about steps to be followed by universities on the admission of these candidates.

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first published:June 11, 2021, 10:00 IST